ASHFORD ASSETS TO DIAMOND: GSI Commerce last week said it would sell certain assets of Ashford.com, including its trademark, to jewelry Web site Diamond.com. Under the deal, expected to be completed Dec. 27, GSI will receive a nonrefundable deposit of $500,000 as well as secured promissory notes, shares and warrants to purchase Diamond.com stock and 10 percent of Diamond.com’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to a maximum of $2 million for the next five years. GSI, which purchased Ashford.com in late 2001 also said it would sell the firm’s remaining inventory, close its Houston facility, and phase out its corporate gift business. Michael G. Rubin, GSI’s chairman and chief executive officer, said Ashford has "performed below our expectations" and has caused "incremental losses" in 2002. Founded in 1998, Ashford sold upscale accessories and luxury goods, but never managed to achieve profitability.

JEAN SCENE: Levi Strauss plans to reorganize its distribution in Europe. The San Francisco denim giant on Friday said it intends to shutter distribution centers in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and transfer distribution previously handled by those facilities to a third party that will be in Antwerp, Belgium. Levi’s said no final agreements have been reached, but if the proposal goes forward, about 75 people could lose their jobs.

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